Dedicated to the to the advancement, study, protection, exhibition, and promotion of the Knabstrupper horse in North America.



In 2002, when the first Knabstrupper foals were born in N. America, the Knabstrupper mother registry, the KNN of Denmark, had no presence here.  The Rhineland-Pfalz-Saar of Germany graciously stepped in and agreed to inspect Knabstrupper mares and foals and put them into a separate Knabstrupper book of the RPSI.  But Knabstruppers were not RPSI’s focus and they did not promote the breed.

Therefore, in 2003 the American Knabstrupper Association was formed in order to promote and market the breed.  The AKA’s efforts were rewarded by a growing interest in the breed by Americans. But these Americans wanted more. They wanted their horses recognized by year end awards and to have them be able to compete for the United States Dressage Federation’s All Breeds Awards.  In short, they wanted a registry dedicated to the breed.

So, in 2005 the American Knabstrupper Association stepped up to the plate and became a full-fledged registry. It spent a great deal of time, effort and money promoting the breed.  First class year end awards, membership and recognition by United States Dressage Federation’s All Breeds Awards, advertisements in major publications, magazine articles, a large website, merchandise and breed logo patches, banners hung at major show grounds, class sponsorships at major sport horse breeding shows, participation at Equine Expos all across the country and more helped make the Knabstrupper breed recognized in the United States.

The breed and its numbers was growing. More and more Knabstruppers were imported and bred and foaled here.

In 2009 the KNN began to send inspectors to the United States to approve mares and inspect and register foals directly. As a result of the mother registry’s entry onto the Knabstrupper breeding scene in America, the American Knabstrupper Association has decided that it has fulfilled its purpose and it is time to stand down in favor of the KNN.

The American Knabstrupper Association has given the Knabstrupper a grand start in North America and we are proud of the work we have done to promote this wonderful breed. Now, we gladly step aside and let the mother registry, the KNN of Denmark, take it from here.

The American Knabstrupper Association will officially cease operations on June 1, 2011.

Those with mares registered with the American Knabstrupper Association are encouraged to present those mares to the KNN for breeding approval and to continue to produce top quality Knabstrupper horses.

May you always see spots before your eyes.

Rebecca Pennington


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About the Knabstrupper

Believed to have originated from the pre-history spotted horses of the region of Europe now known as Spain, the Knabstrupper is one of the oldest breed registries in Europe. Established in 1812, the Knabstrupper started with a single chestnut blanketed mare purchased by a Danish butcher named Flaeb from a Spanish cavalry officer. The mare, who became known as FLAEBEHOPPEN (which literally means “Flaeb’s mare), was purchased by Major Villars Lunn who owned an estate called “Knabstrupgaard” in Holbaek, Nordsealand, Denmark.

Flaeb’s mare was bred to a Fredricksborg stallion and produced a wildly colored stallion son who was named Flaebehingsten. Between the two of them, Flaebehoppen and Flaebehingsten were bred to a large variety of good quality horses, producing loudly colored offspring and grand offspring and establishing the Knabstrupper horses as some of the most sought after in Europe at that time.


By the 1870’s the breed’s continuation was severely threatened as the limited number of Knabstrupper horses lead to unavoidable problems of inbreeding. Then in 1891, a fire at the Lunn family stables destroyed 22 of its top breeding horses. By 1900, the breed’s numbers and quality had declined significantly. But supporters of the Knabstrupper horses continued to fight for the survival of the breed, and in 1947 the stud farm “Egemosegaard” attempted to reestablish the breed. In 1971, breeder Frede Nielsen brought three Appaloosa stallions to Denmark to infuse new blood into the breed. This was a logical step, as the American Appaloosa developed directly from the Spanish spotted horses that were brought to the New World from Europe by Cortez and Coronado in the early 1500’s.


Knabstruppers are valued for their kind temperaments, high level of trainability, strength, stamina and good health as well as for their wonderful color. Over the past two centuries, there have come to be three rather distinct types of Knabstruppers: the Sport Horse type, the Baroque type and the Pony type. The Sport Horse type has been bred to excel in dressage, eventing and show jumping and has been developed by crossing the Knabstrupper with the warmblood sport horses of Europe, most notably the Danish Warmblood and the Trakehner. The Baroque type is a shorter, broader horse reminiscent of a carriage horse or war horse and was very popular as a circus horse. The Pony type is smaller still and is a favorite of children all over Europe.


The Knabstrupper horse exhibits the same color patterns as the American Appaloosa, as they share the same color genes. The most popular color pattern is the leopard with its solid white background covered with black, bay or chestnut spots. Other patterns include the blanket, the snowflake, the snowcap and the “few spot,” an almost solid white horse that, when bred, always produces a foal with a spotted pattern of some kind.



Until 2002, there were no Knabstrupper horses in North America. When frozen semen from the premier Knabstrupper stallion, Apollon, became available in North America, Texans Mike & Caroline Athey became interested in breeding these wonderful horses. Because this is a European breed that requires inspection for breeding and registration, and the Danish Knabstrupper registry did not have an affiliate organization here, arrangements were made with the German Rheinland-Pfalz-Saar registery (the “RPSI”) to inspect and register the North American bred Knabstruppers. There were no Knabstrupper mares available here, so the search began for a few very exceptional Appaloosa mares that might be acceptable to the registry. Three such mares were found, inspected and approved. They were then bred to Apollon. Other American breeders bred warmblood mares to Apollon. On April 1, 2002, the first Knabstrupper foal was born in North America. Named “American Beauty,” she was born to the Athey’s Macarn Farm in Canton, Texas.

In 2003, American breeders were delighted to learn that Apollon had been imported to the United States, where he stood at Silverwood Farm in Virginia for two years.. Recently, several Knabstrupper mares and young stallion prospects have been imported and semen from other top quality Knabstrupper stallions has been made available to American breeders.

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to learn more about this wonderful breed and for membership in the AKA.


   The wonderful Knabstrupper stallion, Apollon


The first Knabstrupper foals born in North America were born to Macarn Farm in Canton, TX. 

You can also read about the breed at the following links:


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